|FRIDAY 10 MARCH 2017||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The US legal rep of alleged KickassTorrents owner Artem Vaulin has vowed to appeal last week's extradition ruling in the Polish courts, while also claiming that his client's treatment so far is a violation of human rights law... [READ MORE]|
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Kickass man's lawyer plans to take case to human rights court
As previously reported, the US authorities are attempting to extradite Ukrainian Vaulin from Poland, where he was arrested last year, to face charges of copyright crimes back in America over his role running the former major file-sharing hub. A court in Poland last week said that Vaulin could be extradited, though there are still further stages to go in that extradition process, in addition to any appeals.
In the US, Vaulin is being represented by the same lawyer as MegaUpload's Kim Dotcom, Ira Rothken. He is trying to have the case against the KAT man dismissed in the US courts on the basis that so called secondary or contributory infringement is not a criminal matter under American law. Because a file-sharing hub like KAT doesn't actually host any of the unlicensed content its users share, its liabilities would be for contributory rather than direct infringement, and in a civil case that's what you'd sue Vaulin for.
Meanwhile, Rothken has also been hitting out at the way Vaulin has been treated since his arrest last year. Unlike Dotcom, who is fighting extradition to the US in his adopted home of New Zealand, Vaulin was not granted bail by the Polish authorities, and has been in custody ever since his arrest, though some of that has been in hospital where he has been treated for back problems.
Despite already fighting his corner in the US court, Rothken has only just been given permission by the authorities to actually meet with Vaulin, who has separate Polish legal representation in his extradition case. It was following that meeting that Rothken revealed that - in addition to an appeal in the Polish courts and the ongoing legal wranglings in the US - he is planning on taking the case to the European Court Of Human Rights.
Rothken told Torrentfreak: "Artem is presumed innocent and the failure to provide him with bail in a novel copyright case on mere torrent files, which is an alleged non-violent crime, violates his human rights. Artem's incarceration makes it so he can't meaningfully participate in his defence in a complex internet copyright case where logically he needs access to the internet to assist his global legal team".
So, as with Dotcom's legal battle, there are now various strands and complexities emerging in the case against Vaulin. It remains to be seen if he ever faces the core charges made against him in an American courtroom.
Test case against web-block evader dismissed
As previously reported, Callum Haywood was charged just under a year ago with one count of converting/transferring criminal property and six of possessing an article for use in fraud, he having been arrested in 2014 over certain proxy sites he was involved in.
The proxies were helping UK web-users access The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents after those sites had been officially blocked by the big internet service providers as a result of court injunctions secured by the entertainment industry.
Such proxies - and the fact that they can be found so easily via a Google search - greatly hinder the effectiveness of web-blocking as an anti-piracy tactic. Rights owners can get individual proxies added to the web-block injunctions, but new ones will immediately pop up, resulting in another game of Whac-A-Mole for the anti-piracy crew.
It's somewhat untested as to what action can actually be taken against the people who keep setting up the proxy services, through either the civil or the criminal courts. The prosecution of Haywood, being led by the City Of London Police's IP Crime Unit, aka PIPCU, was therefore something of a test case.
In a set back for PIPCU, the case was recently dismissed by Nottingham Crown Court. It seems the decision to dismiss was partly the result of confused and conflicting evidence presented by the prosecution during two separate hearings, where different technical explanations of the proxy process were given. The specifics of those conflicting explanations were key in order to link Haywood to the crimes of which he was charged.
The City Of London Police are yet to comment on the case being dismissed, though it seems that they do not plan to appeal. Meanwhile Haywood told TorrentFreak: "I am pleased that [the case] is over, as it was very frustrating. Everyone that I had discussed the case with who had a decent understanding of the technicalities was shocked that it had been allowed to get so far. It is also a disappointment how many resources were wasted in dealing with this case, when there are much more serious actual crimes on our streets".
Ninja Tune hires Isobel Palos and Rob Buckley for sync department
Palos, formerly Head Of Film & TV at Beggars, will take up the same role at Ninja and its publishing division Just Isn't Music, with the addition of advertising to her remit. Meanwhile Buckley joins from Pitch & Sync to head up the Bespoke department, working with the label and publisher's artists and composers on specific commissions.
"I'm very flattered to be invited to join Ninja Tune/Just Isn't Music - a label and publisher I've admired from afar for many years", says Palos. "And I'm looking forward to working with such a dedicated and passionate team of people and their brilliant artists and writers".
Buckley adds: "Having been a huge fan of Ninja Tune for many years I'm extremely excited to be working with their amazing artists and writers. It's going to be great fun getting stuck into the catalogue and I'm particularly looking forward to building upon their impressive bespoke work".
Commenting on the new hires, Head Of Worldwide Sync & Publishing Martin Dobson says:
"We are really excited to introduce her to the lesser know gems of our catalogue and the personalities within our roster of artists", he continues. "We've worked with Rob at various stages of his journey through the industry and to have him come on board to focus on original composition is a perfect fit for the team here and our composers who he'll be working with so closely. We can't wait for them to both get stuck in!"
Initial speakers for tenth International Music Summit announced
Ten speakers, keynotes and topics have been revealed in a nod to the tenth anniversary, and in amongst the line-up announcement are artists like Bernard Sumner, Dixon, The Black Madonna and Masters At Work, while on the industry side Facebook's Patrick Walker, Spotify's Austin Kramer and Resident Advisor founders Nick Sabine and Paul Clement are all on board.
Says the event's co-curator Ben Turner: "It's hard to believe it's been a decade since the first IMS. We've always tried to focus on a singular room of content to help create a dialogue for change and a shared experience - all too rare in today's fractured media landscape. This is really shaping up to be our biggest attendance to date and we hope it's the most informative yet... Even after ten years, it feels like our work is only just starting".
More info at www.internationalmusicsummit.com
Beyonce among musicians to sign Global Citizen call for gender equality
"We have reached a critical moment in history. Recent legislation and rhetoric have put decades of progress for girls and women at risk", says the letter. "All over the world, women are on the frontlines fighting for our future. Yet millions of girls and women are still denied basic equal rights. And recent policies and appointments in the United States jeopardise its position as a global leader and positive role model on human rights".
"We stand together to say, in a voice louder than ever, that fighting for gender equality is the emergency and the opportunity of our time", it continues. "We believe that connection empowers us. That every voice matters. That each one of us is needed to achieve change. We believe we can do extraordinary things when we come together".
The Shins giving away their first tour van
The Ford Club Wagon - which won Motor Trend Magazine's Truck Of The Year Award in 1992, so none of your shite - was the band's first van. These days it's not used for touring though, as frontman James Mercer explains: "It's going to waste. It's not being use for what it can do. It's a working van ... It ought to be passed on to a band that uses it to get out and play shows and spread their music".
If you fancy owning this piece of history/tour enablement, you just have to upload a video of your band performing a song from the new Shins album, 'Heartworms', and then post it somewhere with the hashtag #ShinsVanContest. Technically you have to be in the US to enter, but maybe if you're really confident in your cover they'll bundle in a free green card with your prize.
Coldcut and Adrian Sherwood team up for new album
"Their records were a unique and powerful influence on us", says Coldcut's Matt Black of the affect On-U Sound's releases had on him and his own music, and the duo's label Ninja Tune. "Me and my mates used to collect the records, the design of On-U Sound ten-inch black and white sleeves were so cool. Without On-U there would be no Ninja Tune".
"The whole Coldcut mash up thing was partly inspired by On-U", he continues. "When we made a Go-Go style record 'Stop That Crazy Thing' for our first album and put reggae vocalist Junior Reed [who features on 'Outside The Echo Chamber'] on there, that was the On-U influence. Adrian made connections, he also did a remix of it".
The album will feature vocals from Roots Manuva, Chezidek, Ce'Cile, Hamsika Iyer and Rholin X, among others, plus production on two tracks from Toddla T. It'll be released through Coldcut's revived pre-Ninja Tune label Ahead Of Our Time on 19 May.
Here's the first track from it, 'Divide And Rule' featuring Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Junior Reid and Elan.
Do Make Say Think announce first album for eight years
"There is a hint of narrative on this album which is both vague and deliberate", say the band. "The idea comes from an image in a Buddhist poem about working with a wild mind. The idea is that each song is a thought or daydream, independent but at the same time connected to the other thoughts through subconscious feelings. And although the thoughts come and go, the feelings return over and over throughout our lives".
They continue: "The suggestion in the poem is that when your mental chatter carries you away you don't necessarily need to tie it down or shut it up; you can instead recognise thoughts as thoughts and let them play out. Eventually all concepts must return to perception, where they started. We should probably say again that this narrative is admittedly a bit woolly around the edges - we don't pretend that every note has a special significance".
Grimes' Visions album reworked by classical composers
Titled 'Many Visions: Plumes Deconstructs The Music Of Grimes', the big rework will be premiered at Winnipeg's Cluster New Music And Integrated Arts Festival - which commissioned the project - this month, before touring Canada.
"They had a bunch of options", says Plumes' Geof Holbrook of how the composers approached the project, speaking to MusicWorks. "The theme of the [Cluster] festival is dismantling, taking something apart and reconstructing it. So maybe that means reinterpreting or magnifying or exploding - we gave them pretty wide scope. They're very different composers with different backgrounds and styles. But it's not just a new arrangement or remix. Maybe it's a mashup".
He continues: "One thing that interests me is whether they treat the song in a linear way, or take bits of it and shuffle them around. They've got to keep something, so they could keep the structure, the melodic material, the arrangements, or they might use samples of the original track in some way".
Find out more about the Cluster Festival performance, and the festival itself, here.
PRS, Nick Jonas, Ed Sheeran, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• PRS has launched a new online tool for artists to submit setlists from live performances, which also works on smartphones and tablets. Amazingly, this did not exist before. "This gives us the ability to collect and distribute more revenue to the right members", says the collecting society's Karen Buse.
• Nick Jonas has dumped booking agency CAA right in the bin and gone off to WME, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
• The Association of Independent Music has made Gee Davy its new Legal & Business Affairs Manager, joining from Cooking Vinyl where she held the same title. "I'm excited by this opportunity to join the dedicated AIM team, who have always been a great resource for me", says Davy.
• 7digital has acquired one of its remaining rivals in the white label digital music platform space, 24-7. It has bought the firm off German consumer electronics giant Media-Saturn, which took a controlling stake in 24-7 back in 2009.
• Formerly housed in London's O2 Dome, the British Music Experience has re-opened at the Cunard Building in Liverpool. "Undoubtedly, BME will be hugely popular as music is a major cultural driving force [in Liverpool]", says the city's mayor Joe Anderson.
• Ed Sheeran ended up breaking the record for first week streams on Spotify in just over four days, following the release of new album '÷'. Previously broken by The Weeknd last November with 223 million streams in a week, Ed got there by Tuesday morning. As of last night, he was at 273 million, with a bit of the first week still to go. "It's fair to say that Ed Sheeran nearly broke Spotify this week", said a spokesperson for the streaming service. "Nearly broke?" So claims that Ed would "break the internet" with this new album proved untrue then. Better luck next time.
• Lorde's released another new song, 'Liability'. You can't really dance to this one, but it does include lines about dancing in it. She's also announced that new album 'Melodrama' will be out on 16 Jun.
• Linkin Park have released a video for new single 'Heavy'.
• Soulwax have released a new track from their upcoming 'From Deewee' album. This is 'Missing Wires'.
• Anne-Marie has released the video for latest single 'Ciao Adios'.
• Avante Black have finally got around to releasing the video for their 2016 single 'Drug Money'.
• Full Of Hell have released a new track, 'Deluminate', from their upcoming album, 'Tumpeting Ecstasy', which is out on 5 May.
Beef Of The Week #346: Ed Sheeran and James Blunt v The Truth
I am, of course, referring to the news that broke right in the last gasps of 2016 that Princess Beatrice had accidently stabbed Ed Sheeran in the face with a sword while staging a mock knighting of James Blunt.
The Sun reported that during a party at the Royal Lodge in Windsor, the home of Beatrice's father Prince Andrew, Blunt had mentioned he'd quite fancy being Sir James. She ran off and got a sword, but misjudged its weight when she swung it back and cut Sheeran's right cheek - which explains why he now has a scar there. He went off to hospital to get sewn up, but came back afterwards to assure the princess that everything was alright.
It's a great story. It's got everything. Well, not everything. But it does have a popstar - two popstars! - and a member of the royal family being daft as shit. It's both the most and least rock n roll story ever told at the same time. Change the characters a bit (probably throw in Keith Moon somewhere) and this would have been the stuff of legend.
Thing is, you could have changed the characters to some more exciting people without affecting the accuracy of your report, because it turns out none of this actually happened. The greatest story of 2016 - the only thing that made any of us crack even half a smile all year - is a load of bollocks. Should have guessed, really. It was all too good to be true.
"Ed was drunk, messing around, and he cut himself", Blunt tells Shortlist in a new interview. "We made a fancy story up; people fell for it. It was very embarrassing. All of it [was made up]. Apart from the actual scar. It's bizarre that people fell for it. I blame him. He must be desperate - he's trying to sell records".
This might explain why Sheeran himself was quite so cagey about the whole incident when he was asked about it on Absolute Radio earlier this year, only offering up that his face "did get cut by a sword", but little else. "James Blunt would like me to tell everyone that it was him and that he was trying to reclaim his pop career by killing me", he added, just telling lies upon lies by this point.
If you like a good conspiracy theory, Sheeran's awkward reluctance to discuss the event once he was back on the promo circuit could have been seen as proof he'd got in trouble for letting it slip off the record that Princess Beatrice was the aggressor who slashed open his face. They might be a nonsense organisation that makes little sense in the modern age, but that British royal family still wields a lot of power. Maybe Ed was worried they might come back wielding more swords if he gave a formal interview about the whole fracas.
Though, if Blunt is to be trusted here, it seems that Ed was possibly more worried that -rather than exposing the careless sword skills of a Princess - he had actually falsely accused a royal of not knowing how to handle a sword. Which in itself could result in a serious rebuke from the family Windsor. Or at least ruin his chances of a pop knighthood.
Though, given it seems that what actually happened here is that Ed Sheeran picked up a sword and somehow dropped it on his own face, you can see why he might want to make up something a little more dramatic (or comedic) to explain the scar.
After all, such bad swordsmanship surely also puts you out of the running for a future knighthood? I mean, the Queen can't be knighting people who stab themselves in the face. What if there was a war and all the knights were called up to fight? You can't have popstars on the field of battle stabbing themselves in the face. Just leave the fighting to Paul McCartney, I say.
Anyway, having exposed the lies for what they are (lies), Blunt then started a beef with his record label, Warner's Atlantic (also home to one Edward Sheeran).
Asked about his famously humorous Twitter account, he explains: "My record label started it up and asked if I could promote my music. I thought, 'That sounds really boring'. So I decided I'd just abuse myself on it".
"When they first set it up I chose the name '@DirtyLilBlunt'", he adds. "Then they asked me to change it to something more recognisable - '@JamesBlunt'. Record labels: how to take out the creative".
Wow, look at that, first Blunt helps Sheeran slander a royal, and then he starts laying into the kind folk at his record company. I'm telling you, when James Blunt dies in a mysterious car crash in a tunnel, no one will know whether to blame Team Windsor or Team Warner.